Guys Need "Guy-Time!"

During forty-five years of fulltime active ministry, I planned and/or participated in numerous “guy events” that involved lay and clergy training, inspiration, and fellowship. In an effort to anchor these occasions in some of the memories of my readers, I will list just a sample of the settings, The camp-times would include Riverbend (Glen Rose, TX), Trinity Pines (Trinity, TX), Lake Sallateeska (Pinckneyville, IL) and Emmanuel (Astoria, IL). There were other retreat settings that included a ranch house First Baptist owned (Houston, TX), the Lady of the Snows Catholic facility (Belleville, IL), and the Assemblies’ Lake Williamson (Carlinville, IL). Truthfully, the additional places and occasions were too numerous to list!

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I have so many special memories where my relationship with friends and church leaders was deepened through guy-gatherings that often involved evening fish fries, cooking breakfasts over a modest cook-stove, and sleeping (or trying to!) in the close quarters of a dorm while too many participants snored on! In programming these events, we would intentionally build in times of recreation. Those breaktimes were spent fishing, playing golf, competing at ping-pong tables, as well as playing board games, cards, or dominoes. Upon further reflection, I think that our best times were those end-of-the-day informal times spent just sitting around fireplaces and campfires telling “war” (ministry and work!) stories or sharing family or church concerns! Often, these conversations ended in prayers of support!

I believe in “guy-time!” I have been blessed by it! Last Saturday, I participated in another event that makes an annual appearance in my area. In fact, it couldn’t have been more convenient. My home church (Springfield First, UMC) has been hosting the “Iron Sharpens Iron” men’s conference for 17 years now! There were over 500 men in attendance for this Saturday gathering and they represented 50 churches. Keynote speakers and break-out equipping conferences were offered throughout the day.

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I only attended a half-day, but came away with plenty of notes and insights that were shared by two out-of-town speakers: Dusty Davis, pastor of the Shoreline Church of San Clemente, California, and Joe Martin, podcaster, motivational speaker, and founder of Real Men Connect, Ooltewah, TN. Both presenters brought messages with similar themes to the men and boys gathered in the sanctuary.

Here are some bullet point takeaways…

  • ·         Accountability is huge! Joe Martin bluntly challenged, “A man with no accountability can’t be counted on!” He said that every man needs an accountability team or inner circle of “fox hole friends” who are the guy friends who will support, protect, and say, “I got your back!” on the one hand, but will also confront and call you to account when you’re “stuck on stupid!”😳
  • ·         Community is a necessity! Reminiscent of Jesus’ “Peter, James and John,” Martin asked each man present, “Who’s your three?” Dusty Davis said he hears men say, “I don’t need a community group!” Davis said to the men listening, “You don’t sit alone on a park bench!” He further warned with the 1 Peter 5:8 verse, “The devil is on the prowl!” and then asked, “How many stupid things have you done when you were alone?”
  • ·         Leaders develop intentionally! Both speakers shared this similar note in their messages. Martin prescribed, “You need a personal intimate relationship with Jesus Christ that involves reading the Bible, praying without ceasing, telling everybody about Jesus and going to church all the time!” He then repeatedly “pounded” his point with this probing question, “Tell us what God has told you this week!”
  • ·         Emphasize intentionality, not intensity in evangelism! Davis advised the men to be natural when speaking about Jesus to others and let your witness reflect the “rhythm of your life!” Like the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, “Talk about them (God’s commandments) when you sit, walk, lie down and get up.” Davis concluded, “Close your mouth. Listen more. Don’t try to fix the problems of others but do make holes in roofs to put others in Jesus’ presence!” (See Mark 2:1-12).

Once again, I was blessed by this day of “guy-time!” Pray for the guys in your family that God will make of them better husbands, dads, leaders, and Christ-followers. Pray too, for the “little guys” your sons, daughters, and grands, that God will protect them as they grow in their relationship with Christ and follow Him faithfully in their lives!

Let’s make it our greatest desire to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind while we also learn to love our neighbors as we do ourselves!

Men's Ministry link... Mentoring

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.


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